Brian & Marie Leask are joint owners of Seabirds-and-Seals. Brian has been involved with Seabirds-and-Seals since it started up 29 years ago,acting as mechanic & maintenance man, he also joined them on tours as crew and guide.
Brian & Marie took over the business in 2017 from previous owner Jonathan Wills who has shared his depth of knowledge about the local area & wildlife and has written his own book titled "Seabirds and Seals" - well worth a read and available to order through Shetland Times Bookshop. Brian & Marie have gained so much knowledge from previous owner which is reflected in their tours and have also added many extras to make it an overall fun tour. Both were delighted with their extremely busy first season in 2018 which brought many amazing 5-Star Trip Advisor & Google Reviews. The following season in 2019 they were awarded 4-Stars from Scottish Tourist Board along with TripAdvisor 2019 Certificate Of Excellence and in 2020 they were awarded TripAdvisor 2020 Traveller's choice - great achievements in only 3 years of operating the original Noss boat tours - Seabirds-and-Seals. They are both very excited about the future and look forward to welcoming many passengers onboard 'Seabird' - both ready to deliver fun, personal, informative & interesting tours to suit all interests and ages.
Although this is the first boat trip business they have owned, they are no strangers to being on the water. Both have extensive seafaring experience, which led to sailing their own yacht from Shetland to part of the Meditteranean where they explored for over two years and then sailed their yacht Enjah back to Shetland. A truly magnificent experience but they're glad to be home, showcasing what Shetland has to offer to their many visitors.
Prior to taking over Seabirds-and-Seals Brian worked self employed as a Marine Engineer under the name of Marine Autos. Brian took pride in his work and was very popular with all local boat owners and came highly recommended. Brian continues taking pride of his new business - Seabirds-and-Seals and delighted to have his Wife Marie on-board as they make such a fabulous team.
Brian has had his MCA Workboat License for many many years, he also has his VHF Radio Operator Licence & Professional Practices & Responsibilities Qualification. Both Marie & Brian have their Basic Sea Survival Qualfication and First Aid At Sea Qualification. All of these skills plus years of seafaring experience & knowledge puts you in very safe hands and Brian in a perfect place at the helm for our popular Noss Boat Tours.
Marie is responsible for the admin side of things and social media listings. Marie has worked previously as a School Librarian making her an avid reader and always looking to add more information to the tour to make it fun & interesting for all ages. Marie has also worked in the past as Learning Support Worker, Social Care Worker & Administration Worker, but out of all the jobs - being a tour guide is simply the best and her enthusiasm comes across on the tours.
Brian & Marie make a fantastic team - both very passionate about their business, always up for fun and very friendly - all of which is reflected in their fantastic TripAdvisor & Google Reviews. They are both delighted to bring all their training & expertise together to run Seabirds-and-Seals and you will find out when taking the tour, they both have so much infectious enthusiasm & knowledge - making it a fun 3-hour tour from start to finish.
Jonathan has been birdwatching in Shetland since childhood holidays. Jonathan started up award winning business Seabirds-and-Seals in 1992 and retired in 2017 when Marie & Brian took over the helm and continue to follow in his steps with their many 5-Star reviews and awards. Jonathan continues to advise the business and still makes the occasional trip to Noss as a guide onboard M.V. Seabird. In 1970 he was the first warden of Noss National Nature Reserve. He’s a former boatman to the Muckle Flugga Lighthouse and wrote his Ph.D. on the historical geography of Shetland.
Part-time guide and deckhand Kaylee Stevenson is from Lerwick. She is a local Coastguard officer and a qualified Royal Yachting Association instructor with lots of experience in looking after passengers. She worked on yacht flotillas in Greece before returning to Shetland to put her powerboat certificate and people skills to good use on Seabird.
Wildlife tour leader, writer and photographer Jon Dunn sometimes joins us on our tours to work as crew and wildlife guide. Author of the "Britain's Sea Mammals" field guide, he's passionate about birds as well as blubbery mammals, and can't get enough of sharing them with visitors to Shetland.
With our experienced Captain, Brian, and knowledgeable naturalist Marie, enjoyed breathtaking views of the Noss cliffs, seabird colonies, the coastline, and seals with the bonus of learning some local history and snagging some very special underwater views. On a cool and windy day on the water, the coffee/tea and biscuits served were a nice touch as well. Can't imagine a better way to see the area and wildlife - or better folks to guide us. The boat was comfortable and provided some protection from the elements as well!!
So I was visiting my friends in Lerwick and I had a few hours to spend so inspotted the seabird and seals boat, I approached Brian (owner) and asked if there was room for 1 more and there was. I was told to be at the pier for 2pm, I was and we set sail around 2.15pm, we had a safety brief from Marie and it was very clear but also relaxed. First stop was out to a shipwreck where they anchored and put down an underwater camera so we could see the sea life and the wreck, it was really amazing and you could all see clearly on the two television screens. We then proceeded to see the seals then out towards Noss, I don't want to spoil the trip for anyone but it was fantastic and the best £45 I have spent in a while, included were tea & biscuits as well, we were away from 3 and half hours, great company, great boat and overall fantastic experience, well done to you both.
We were so, so lucky...We started slowly with a fascinating camera exploring the sea life around an old wreck. Then we got serious, out into open water and the spectacularly rugged coasts of the islands of Bressay and Noss...The cliffs of Noss were one of the greatest natural sights I've ever experienced. With the sea hammering us and the captain keeping us steady maybe four feet from the rocks, we were at the base of 592-feet-high cliffs, with 25,000 birds above us, sitting/nesting on every speck of ledge, many diving beak-first at high speed to spear fish, the noise of the birds overwhelming. At one point I wondered what would happen if one bird noticed us and mused, "Fancy a change from fish today?" We were probably there half an hour, and it's a half hour that will live in our memories a long time. Lots still to see after that, including backing up into a cavern in a cliff, and anchoring in a cove for tea, coffee, and biscuits. What an incredible tour!
This tour was arranged by our cruise ship and it's a must do for anyone visiting Lerwick in Shetland Islands. We saw such beautiful birds and the two owners were so knowledgeable and friendly. Also rock formations and caves were beautiful. Loved the gingerbread cookies and coffee. Also the views from underwater camera were great!
A belated review from a visit to Shetland in May this year - we had an amazing trip with Brian and Marie round the cliffs of Noss and Bressay. They were both extremely knowledgeable and friendly, seemed to know everything about the wildlife we encountered on the tour, plenty of new things to discover even for someone who grew up in Shetland. we saw grey seals, gannets, great skuas and shags, we couldn't believe how many birds were nesting around the cliffs! The weather was nice enough for Brian to bring the boat right into the Orkneyman's Cave, as well as sending down the ROV to a small wreck at the North mooth of the harbour. would definitely consider taking the trip again, and recommend to both visitors and islanders alike.